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Know How: Streamline buying + printing labels

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Welcome to our "Know How" series - we share ways to maximize your success! See all our best practices.

A simple label is the result of many carefully prepared pieces of data and well coordinated actions:

Fortunately, ShippingEasy has a way to automate each of these actions - saving you tons of time! Scroll through the tips below or click on the links above to find more about specific steps of the label making process.

Preparing the label:

Load orders:

ShippingEasy integrates with a number of popular eCommerce platforms, allowing you to seemlessly download your orders. Find out if you can connect your store platform directly to ShippingEasy.

If there isn’t an existing integration for your store platform, you have the option to enter orders manually, such as via a CSV file, or build your own custom integration. Learn more about these options:

Regardless of how you load your orders, we recommend that you assign SKUs to your products and have accurate quantities entered for each line item. This will help you take advantage of many other tools within ShippingEasy.

Return addressing:

Used to calculate postage costs and return undeliverable packages to you, you’ll need to mark your packages with a return package. If you only have one shipping location, this may be as simple as saving a single address to your STORED ADDRESS settings. When saving your address, don’t forget to include a phone number! This will allow you to request package pick up as well as save time shipping via UPS or FedEx if your customers forget to include a phone number. Learn more about saving your Ship From address.

However, if you have multiple warehouses, return addresses that differ from where the package will ship from, or many brands to differentiate, you can take advantage of ShippingEasy’s other options to assign a return address:

These options can be used in combination as well. Though, you’ll want to keep in mind how the different defaults work together. Learn more about assigning Ship From addresses to your orders.

Carrier and service:

Most shippers have a few carriers and services that they use for the majority of their shipments. To avoid having to input the same information over and over again, set up a Saved Carrier Selection to automatically apply this info to a product once it’s ordered. Read our best practices for selecting with carrier services to save for future shipments

Save even more time with Shipping Rules. Shipping Rules are intended to automate your shipping wherever possible; in this case, it will be to apply the same shipping method across similar orders.

If you’re new to Shipping Rules, read our best practices guide. We also have some examples of popular uses for using Shipping Rules to assign your Saved Selections:

  • Requested service: Honor your customers' shipping requests and automatically map these to your orders. Assign an order category in tandem to make filtering and batching a snap. See example.
  • Custom package: Take advantage of dimensional rates by saving your custom package sizes with your Saved Carrier Selections. Then assign these to your shipments with a rule. See example.
  • Less than 13 oz: Take advantage of the inexpensive USPS First Class service for your lightest shipments.See example.
  • Greater than 13 oz: For heavier shipments, opt for Priority Mail, USPS' next most cost effective air service.See example.
  • Regional shipments: Regional Rate Boxes are affordable options for relatively heavy shipments traveling shorter distances. Use Zones to determine when this is the most cost effective option. See example.
  • Automatically create shipment: Perfect for one-by-one shipping when you always use the same carrier service for specific SKUs. See example
  • Qualifying products: Whether specific products qualify for free shipping or others need to be shipped fast, assign the exact service any product needs with a rule. See example.

Package:

Postage is largely calculated based on the weight and size of the parcel you ship, so accurate data in these areas is imperative to cost-effective shipping. Both the protective packaging and product contents affect parcel dimensions.

Packaging:

Packaging options typically include using free carrier packaging or your own custom boxes. Learn more about selecting the right package.

If you consistently use custom packages, we recommend storing those package dimensions - exterior measurements as well as packaging weight -  to ShippingEasy. These saved packages will be available when making carrier selections. This makes for quick recall, as well as ensures that you get the best and most accurate rate quotes. Learn how to save your custom packages.

Products/contents:

The contents of your packages will account for most of the weight. While you can always weigh your packages on any old scale - learn more - ShippingEasy provides several tools to assign package weight more quickly and more accurately.

Product catalog:

If you have SKUs assigned to your products, the Product Catalog is one of your most valuable tools. Consider it a database to store information about all your products. Once you have assigned weights to individual products, ShippingEasy will use this information to automatically calculate the weights of your packages.

Read through our best practices for preparing your inventory and cataloging products.

USB scale:

While you can opt to use a non-digital scale, there is greater room for error in readings and over time this could eat into your postage costs. ShippingEasy integrates with a number of digital scales for your benefit, making it simple to quickly gather weights as well as calculate accurate postage. Learn more

Ship date:

Carriers will often pick up packages before the end of your work day. Fortunately, ShippingEasy provides an option to automatically advance the ship date after a specific time. You’ll find the setting valuable when you have labels to print, but you know the packages will not be received by the carrier until the following day. Learn more.

Confirmation options:

While most carrier services include tracking, a select few do not. Learn more.  

Even when you’re able to track your packages, you may prefer to request additional confirmation options, such as Signature or Adult Signature. These services ensure that your shipment is delivered to a person (not left at a doorstep) or even that the recipient is age verified (important if you’re shipping certain restricted items).

While additional confirmation options can be added manually to orders, save additional time by automatically apply them to orders via Shipping Rules. Learn more about what confirmation options are available with Shipping Rules and read through our examples of popular uses:

Insurance:

Many carrier services include a limited amount of shipment insurance. Learn more.

However, more valuable shipments may require additional protection against loss or damage. Insurance can be added manually to your orders. In addition, you can use Insurance Defaults or Shipping Rules to automatically apply your insurance preferences. Learn more about these uses:

Customs form:

International shipments, as well as packages destined for a military post office or territory, require customs forms. Customs forms provide valuable information to customs officials. Learn more.

These documents may seem daunting, especially if you’ve ever been faced with a blank form and asked to fill it out by hand. Luckily, ShippingEasy stores your International Shipment preferences and then automatically fill out customs form for shipments that require them. Learn more about setting up INTERNATIONAL SHIPMENTS settings.

Often overlooked by new shippers, the Harmonized code is an important piece of information to include with your customs forms. This unique number helps to identify the products in your parcels and often speeds processing time through customs. If you ship a variety of products and use ShippingEasy’s product catalog, it’s best to assign these directly to your products - another valuable setting to save you time. Learn more about assigning Harmonized codes.

 

Buying the label:

Label settings:

Labels can be printed on either thermal or laser ink. Laser ink is pretty standard for most printers while thermal printing can be more cost effective. Learn more about thermal printing or read our cost comparison of thermal vs label printing.

After determining your printer type, it’s time to think about the size of label you will be printing. Learn more about your options. Label sizes can be updated as frequently as your needs change. You can even set in which order your labels print. Learn more about setting up your label preferences.   

When shipping via USPS, you can further customize your labels. Add a mini packing list with product SKUs or include a universal carrier message. Learn more about customizing USPS labels.

Paying for postage:

Postage is the key ingredient to completing your shipping and makes a huge difference in how you price your products. Depending on which carrier services you select, you will either pay for your postage via a postage balance or after the carrier invoices you.

USPS:

ShippingEasy is dedicated to keeping shipping as low-cost as possible for our customers so that you can extend those savings onto yours. That’s why we work with Endicia to provide discounted rates on USPS postage.

Once you have your Endicia postage accounts set up - learn more - it’s best to fund your postage balance. This postage balance will then be used to purchase your USPS labels. Learn more about your Endicia accounts.

After you have identified your trends in spending, you’ll have a better idea of how much postage you will need to have set aside to fill your orders. Take advantage of ShippingEasy’s automatic postage refill to make sure your balance never falls below a level that would inhibit your productivity. Learn more about setting up automatic postage refills

UPS and FedEx:

ShippingEasy notifies these carriers after labels have been purchased. You will then receive an invoice and pay the carrier directly.

Some shippers find that they need to bill postage to a third party account. In this case, you can save the third party accounts for quick access on the READY TO SHIP page. Learn more. Save even more time by using Shipping Rules to automatically assign a third party billing account to specific orders. Learn more.

Creating the label:

How you create your labels can be as unique as your shipping process. ShippingEasy can accommodate all types of work flows - purchase labels one-by-one or in batches, take it step-by-step or keep it to one-page.

Step-by-step shipping:

If you’re new to ShippingEasy, it’s best to familiarize yourself with the basic step-by-step process for purchasing individual labels. Watch our video or read through these detailed guides:

  1. Create a shipment
  2. Select a carrier and service
  3. Review and purchase labels
  4. Print individually purchased labels or print a batch of labels
  5. Create a USPS SCAN form

This one-by-one process works well for operations using USB scales or who need to give extra care to reviewing each order.

For shippers that prefer the methodical nature of working step-by-step, but wish to speed things up, consider the possibilities of batch shipping. Batching allows you to group orders that require the same carrier selections, including carrier, service, packaging, ship date, confirmation options, and insurance preferences. Learn more about batch shipping.

One-page shipping:

Options abound even when shipping from the ORDERS page.

Quick Ship:

Prepare your orders and browse rates on the ORDERS page. Learn more. Then, if you have saved your carrier selections and chosen which to make available for Quick Ship, you can complete your purchase without even leaving the ORDERS page. Learn more.

Buy & Print:

Buy & Print reads an order’s service carrier selection with it’s destination address to configure an accurate rate quote right on the ORDERS page. You can then purchase individual labels or as many as 200 at once - regardless of the carrier or service. Consider it the next evolution of batching.

In order for this feature to work properly, ShippingEasy needs to know all the selections, as discussed in “Preparing a label”, that you want applied to your labels. Most importantly, you will need to set up Shipping Rules that assign a saved selection to your orders. Jump back to our tips about setting up Saved Selections.

For more details, read our complete Buy & Print set-up guide.

 

Printing the label:

Once you have purchased a label, you’ll need to print it! Setting up accessible printing is a key component in a smooth shipping process. Labels are generated as PDF documents. As such, they can be opened from the app as a PDF or sent directly to your printer.

Print from PDF:

The default option, printing from PDF is available for free to all ShippingEasy subscribers. It’s a great choice if you prefer to review labels before printing them or need to save them to a file in order to email to an offsite warehouse.

For faster printing from PDF, consider setting up Google Cloud Printing. Learn more

Print direct to printer:

Another option is ShippingEasy’s very own product. Keeping the streamlined printing process in mind, ShippingEasy created ConnectEasy, printing software exclusive to our customers. This program eliminates the extra steps in the printing process, sending your label information directly to your printer without having to open a PDF file in between. It also lets you skip the READY TO PRINT page when utilizing the Buy & Print button. Learn more about printing with ConnectEasy.

 

Printing the packing slip

If you've got Saved Carrier Selections set up, you can take advantage of ShippingEasy's Buy & Print feature and  print your packing slips right from the ORDERS page before processing your labels or from the READY TO PRINT or SHIPMENT HISTORY pages after purchasing your labels. 
 
If your Saved Carrier Selections are not active yet, you can print packing slips along with your labels on the READY TO PRINT page

From ORDERS page with labels using Buy & Print

Check the 'Print Packing Slips' checkbox to print packing slips with your labels.
ShippingEasy will remember your 'Print Packing Slips' setting when you click the Purchase button.
packing_slip_and_purchase.png

If you select the 4" x 6" inch label or the 4" x 6" inch label (2 per page) on the 'Shipping Labels' page, a packing slip will not automatically print with your labels after purchase as it will be read as printing a duplicate and will not process. 

From READY TO PRINT page:

Go to SETTINGS >> PACKING SLIPS. Scroll to the bottom of the page to the "Packing Slip Template" and select your templates from the Domestic and International drop down menus. Be sure to Save your changes. On the READY TO PRINT page,  generate packing slips via the grey Print All or Print Selected buttons. Learn more.

 


Related articles:

ShippingEasy's Best Practices
What tools are available to accounts with multiple users?
FAQs: Buy & Print
FAQs: ConnectEasy
How to: Reprint a label

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